Success stories

How Oro Valley, AZ enhanced community engagement with OpenCities

Increase in homepage traffic
Increase in parks and recreation pageviews
Increase in public works department traffic
Increase in water utility department/payment service pageviews
Oro Valley, Arizona is a growing community nestled between the Catalina and Tortolita mountain ranges in northern Pima County. The city is situated about three miles north of Tucson and home to more than 47,000 residents. Oro Valley has been dubbed the “Upscale Tech Mecca” of Southern Arizona by the Arizona Daily Star newspaper and the city needed a website that meets the needs of its engaged residents and provides better service and features. City leaders implemented OpenCities, a Granicus website product that helps effectively connect residents with the information they need.
“The ease of use and collaboration [of OpenCities] are huge because we didn’t have that ability before. Now, multiple people can use the system.”
Nick Going, Digital Content Specialist

Efficient Website Solutions for an Engaged Community

The Oro Valley city website had previously been managed by one person and it was a challenge to keep up with the public demand for information. The site did not offer a robust search function for users to find exactly what they needed, which resulted in resident frustration. Additionally, the layout was dated, and city leaders wanted a system that would seamlessly integrate with third party applications as they were converting services to digital processes.

The OpenCities Granicus website solution provided an opportunity for Oro Valley to enhance the layout and improve search functionality while allowing residents to actively engage with the site. City leaders wanted to use modern website solutions to create a unified space for people to visit for updates on special projects and initiatives to improve the user experience.

“The ease of use and collaboration [of OpenCities] are huge because we didn’t have that ability before. Now, multiple people can use the system.”
Nick Going, Digital Content Specialist
Oro Valley, Arizona

Delivering Greater Impact with Intuitive Digital Solutions

Providing accurate, comprehensive search results to residents and delivering a better user experience required Oro Valley to overhaul its website. OpenCities allowed city officials to take a more collaborative approach to updating the website in a timely fashion. The intuitive nature of the solution makes it easy for many staff members to take ownership of individual department pages and optimize search results. Since the tool is so intuitive and easy for staff to learn, city leaders have been able to develop separate sub-sites – one for police recruitment and an award-winning site for economic development.

City leaders use the insights and best bets tools to determine what information users are seeking and add or refine content as necessary. For example, when the digital team learned “pickle ball” was a frequently searched term, staff reworked the “Things to Do” page to include relevant content on that topic. Rather than having to call the parks and recreation department, users can now quickly find information on pickle ball on the city’s website.


Creating a Dynamic User Experience with OpenCities

Since implementing OpenCities, Oro Valley has seen an increase in home page traffic as well as growth in individual department page visits. There has been a 70% increase in home page traffic, a 27% increase in page views for the parks and recreation department page, and a 34% increase in traffic for the public works department. As a result of this increase in web traffic, paper-driven processes have declined. Users are calling the city offices less and can conduct transactions, such as paying bills or signing up for services, completely online.

The revised website has driven transparency efforts for several city projects as well. For initiatives like Oro Valley’s parks expansion project, users can regularly visit dedicated pages to attain current information. Residents can check in on the project’s progress by visiting a page that is updated weekly. Similarly, the city’s sub sites drive transparency by serving as hubs of information. “We’re already seeing significant increases in web traffic to the [Oro Valley economic development] site, which demonstrates the value of this tool to local businesses as well as site selectors,” stated Paul Melcher, community and economic development director for Oro Valley.

“Every time we’ve integrated a new platform online, we’ve been able to easily integrate it using OpenCities. If we didn’t have it, it would be a bad user experience.”
Nick Going, Digital Content Specialist
Oro Valley, Arizona

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